Pixel Scroll 10/29/16 Best Pixel Scroll Title Ever

(1) ORIGIN STORY. Paris Review kicked off a series of posts about the author of Dracula with “Something in the Blood, Part 1”.

To celebrate the spookiest of holidays, we’re publishing a selection of excerpts from David J. Skal’s Something in the Blood, a biography of Bram Stoker, published this month by Liveright. First up: the origins of Dracula.

There are many stories about how Bram Stoker came to write Dracula, but only some of them are true. According to his son, Stoker always claimed the inspiration for the book came from a nightmare induced by “a too-generous helping of dressed crab at supper”—a dab of blarney the writer enjoyed dishing out when asked, but no one took seriously (it may sound too much like Ebenezer Scrooge, famously dismissing Marley’s ghost as “an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese”). But that hasn’t stopped the midnight snack of dressed crab from being served up as a matter of fact by countless people on countless occasions. While the nightmare aspect may well have some validity—Stoker’s notes at least suggest that the story might have had its genesis in a disturbing vision or reverie—it exemplifies the way truth, falsehood, and speculation have always conspired to distort Dracula scholarship. An unusually evocative piece of storytelling, Dracula has always excited more storytelling—both in endlessly embellished dramatizations and in the similarly ornamented accounts of its own birth process.

(2) SOFT OPENING. Quill & Quire previews the new Toronto Bar “Famous Last Words”.

For readers looking for a casual haunt to sit down with a good book and a drink (or writers looking for a few strong ounces of liquid creativity)‚ Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood [is] home to a literary-themed bar‚ slated to open Oct. 14. Famous Last Words – echoing CanLit legend Timothy Findley’s 1981 novel of the same name – will feature craft cocktails “with a literary twist‚” with book-inspired names like The English Patient‚ Cryptonomicon‚ The Perks of Being a Wallflower‚ and Fahrenheit 451.

The bar’s bookish decor includes a Scrabble-tile-topped bar‚ bookshelf wallpaper‚ washrooms for Jane Austens or Oscar Wildes‚ typewriters‚ and‚ of course‚ plenty of paperbacks to browse on a bar-spanning book wall.

(3) TAKING UP TIME. David Brin’s book recommendation post includes these playful words about Time Travel: A History, by science historian James Gleick.

This chapter does not mention the array of sneaky means by which we sci fi authors try to weasel our way around causality and temporal protection. One is the universe branching point. When Spock accidentally lures a vengeful Romulan to go back in time and destroy Planet Vulcan (in J.J. Abrams’s Star Trek flick) many fans consoled themselves that this is just a branching-off of a newborn parallel reality… that the older timeline still stands, where Shatner-Kirk and all the rest remain, along the original timeline, like a trellis for the new one to grow alongside.

Well, well, that’s an artistic representation of one of many ways that physicists (at least a few) think that paradoxes might be resolved. Speaking as both a physicist and a science fiction author, I must say that this very loose partnership is one of the most fun that our unique and marvelous civilization offers, during a unique and marvelous… time.

(4) FELINE FEST. For National Cat Day, Jeff Somers of the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog has compiled “The 25 Best Cats in Sci-Fi & Fantasy”. (Not all of them are cats strictly speaking – for example, Aslan is on this list.)

Lying Cat in Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples If you Google “lying cat” you’ll be rewarded with a slew of images of a fierce-looking cat saying the word “lying” in various tones—from vicious to interrogative. Lying cat can always tell if someone is deliberately lying, and thus is an invaluable companion to bounty hunter The Will in this remarkable comic series. More than just a very large cat that acts as a lie detector, Lying Cat is also a fierce warrior, and fiercely loyal. The fact that a cat that comes up to The Will’s shoulder was the runt of its litter should disturb you.

(5) DON’T YOU THINK SHE LOOKS TIRED? Fansided’s “Doctor Who Watch” uncovered scandalous facts in a candidate’s leaked emails — “Hilary Clinton Reportedly Calls Doctor Who ‘Boring Garbage’”

However, there is one email* that has come out that may truly signal the end of her hopes for the Presidency. Instead of being political in nature, or housing secret government information, this email discusses Doctor Who — or, rather, how she just does not appreciate the show, calling it “boring garbage” and feeling as though she is being left out on a joke that everyone else understands

…But to say that Doctor Who is boring garbage? Well, that crosses a line that few would dare to verbalize. In saying that, she has, in effect, removed the Whovian demographic from her voting population. Yes, she has a somewhat higher opinion of Sherlock, which has a great deal of overlap in terms of fandom, but to attack the Doctor?

(6) SAVE OUR STOTTIES. Fanhumorist and distinguished geezer Graham Charnock is in jeopardy of being denied access to an essential food group. He has launched a petition at Change.org

Greggs have ceased to sell ham and pease pudding stotties, a staple food of the Tyneside community. Let’s persuade them they are wrong that there is no demand.

Our goal is to reach 100 signatures and we need more support.

You can read more and sign the petition here.

And to reassure yourself this is not (entirely) a hoax, you can study up on Tyneside cuisine in this Chronicle article.

(7) ZACHERLE OBIT. Horror movie TV host John Zacherle died October 27 at the age of 98 reports the New York Times.

[He] played a crypt-dwelling undertaker with a booming graveyard laugh on stations in Philadelphia and New York in the late 1950s and early ’60s…

In 1953 he began appearing as characters on “Action in the Afternoon,” a live western series shot in a vacant lot behind the studios of WCAU. “The idea was to get somebody in trouble on Monday, and either get him out of trouble, shoot him or hang him by Friday,” he told The Daily News in 1959.

One of his recurring characters was an undertaker named Grimy James, whose frock coat came in handy when the station bought a collection of 52 old horror films from Universal. The station manager, reviewing his new acquisition, decided that most of the films were so bad, he would have to build a show around them to add entertainment value.

Mr. Zacherle put on the frock coat and, in October 1957, went to work as the host of “The Shock Theater” (later simply “Shock Theater”), bringing with him an endless supply of sight gags and ad-lib patter.

A rabid fan base developed. When the station held an open house, expecting about 1,500 viewers to turn up, 13,000 stormed the studio to meet the Cool Ghoul, as Mr. Zacherle was known.

(8) CONVENTION IN A SYNAGOGUE. The first Jewish Comic Con takes place in Brooklyn on November 13.

All it took was a Shabbat dinner between the President of Congregation Kol Israel, Fred Polaniecki, and comic book creator Fabrice Sapolsky. Together, they outlined the Jewish Comic Con – a place to explore how Jewish identity has influenced comics both on the page and behind the scenes. Featuring panel discussions, artist tables, and lots of shmoozing,…

Now, Congregation Kol Israel is proud to organize the first ever Comic Con in a synagogue, our synagogue!

(9) PLAID AND PROUD. A kilt reference in yesterday’s Scroll prompted John King Tarpinian to remind me about the local Pasadena specialty store Off Kilter Kilts.

Southern California’s only multi-brand modern kilt store is celebrating its first anniversary on August 27, 2016.

Kilters from across the region will be converging on the store to mark the occasion with owner J.T. Centonze and the rest of the OKK crew. With more than 800 kilts sold in the first year, Off Kilter Kilts has a lot to celebrate.

Off Kilter Kilts has become a regular sight at local Renaissance Faires, Highland Games, and Celtic Festivals. They can also be seen around Pasadena hosting Kilts and Drinks nights at local restaurants.

kilt-wearing-dog

(10) THE WINNER. Jonathan Maberry explains that the Canyon Crest Academy Writers Conference is the nation’s only absolutely free writers conference for teens. This year the conference inaugurated an award and named it after an author – him — the Jonathan Maberry Inspiring Teens Award. Then they turned around and made Maberry the first winner. Says  Maberry, “I’m insanely honored to be the recipient of an award that is named after me. Yeah…I know. That’s surreal.”

(11) HAM ON VINYL. Someone sent along a link to William Shatner Live, a 1977 spoken word album. With the assurance, “No, I’ve not listened to it.” I must confess I have honored that choice myself, beyond about the first 15 seconds of the YouTube recording listed below.

The Wikipedia article on the album includes the text of William Shatner’s explanation for doing this one-man show on stage.

If I were good, it would be the actor’s dream– but if it failed I would be alone. Alone up there with thousands of eyes peering at me — opera glasses raised for a closer look, and the unasked but heavily felt question “what’s he going to do?”

All this was going through my head as I learned the lines — all this was in front of my eyes as I lay down at night — and when the day came that I was to open at Texas A&M University I was filled with fear.

A very primitive fear — the fear of the actor. The nightmare that all actors have from time to time is appearing naked in front of an audience — not knowing the lines, not knowing the play — I was living the dream.

Thirty-five hundred people awaited me expectantly; the buzz of their voices reached me backstage, the lights dimmed, the M.C. announced my name and I walked out. The spotlight hit me like a physical force and I was on — oh muse, be with me know — I took a breath & started to speak…

 

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Andrew Porter, Cat Eldridge, Steven H Silver, David K.M. Klaus, and John King Tarpinian for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Jonathan Edelstein.]

2016 FAAn Awards

The winners of the 2016 Fan Activity Achievement (FAAn) awards were announced today at Corflu 33 (Chiflu) in Chicago.

The FAAn awards are presented annually to honour the best in fan writing, drawing, publishing and posting, and are voted on by fanzine fans around the world.

The voting statistics have been posted here [PDF file].

More information about this and previous years’ awards, including a full breakdown of the 2016 results, will be available on the Corflu website here.

FAAn AWARD WINNERS

Best Genzine of 2015 (tie)

Best Personal Zine of 2015

Best Special Publication of 2015

  • The MOTA Reader, edited by Dan Steffan

Best Fan Website of 2015

Best Fan Writer of 2015

  • Roy Kettle

Best Fan Artist of 2015

Best Letterhack of 2015 (The Harry Warner, Jr. Memorial Award for Best Fan Correspondent)

  • Paul Skelton

Best Fanzine Cover of 2015

Number One Fan Face of 2015
(not voted, but totalled from the other eight categories)

  • Dan Steffan

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented at Corflu since 2010, to honor a living fan for their fan activity over a long career in fandom. It is not a FAAn award; in most years winners have been selected from nominations by a small committee, usually (as this year) including recent Corflu chairs and the FAAn Awards administrator. Previous winners are listed alongside the FAAn awards on the awards history page [link: http://corflu.org/history/faan.html ]

[Thanks to Claire Brialey for the story.]

Vibrating With Graham

I nodded in agreement when I read Rich Coad say in a letter to Flag that most fanzine fans aren’t interested in awards anymore. (I mean besides you, Aidan, of course). Graham Charnock provides living proof (or maybe 100 proof) in Vibrator 2.0.4 [PDF file].

Frankly I have given up on this competitive stuff. No matter how much brilliant stuff I write for that seminal literary journal CHUNGA people (mostly Andy Hooper, which is strange because he is one of the editors) persist in ignoring me. Okay, once Marty Cantor proposed me for past fwa president at Corflu in Sunnyvale but he was soon shouted down and the anodyne Spike, who can’t even afford a last name and was on the organising committee, was elected in my place. Nowadays it seems Brits are elected every year without actually doing anything or displaying any talent. Even Roy Kettle. Bitter? Not me.

Having said that most of my impetus for writing comes from being drunk, I have to admit the flaw in my own argument. When I’m drunk I frequently just feel tired. I think of lots of stuff I could write, including long novels with vast starships (but also heart-searching poems dealing with death and mortality) but then I reach for another drink and turn on Bones.

The entire issue is filled with lightning wit — except for Graham’s article about death, I mean — and though I treasure the firecracker string of perfectly-placed in-jokes quoted above, most of it is far more accessible to the uninitiated. His readers add to the pandemonium, too. If only Graham charged for copies I would happily testify that Mark Plummer’s letter of comment is worth the price of admission by itself.

 

Massacre at the TAFF Corral

John Coxon is the 2011 Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund winner because he was the only fan still standing when the parliamentary dust cleared.

TAFF candidate Liam Proven received the most votes, more than twice as many as the next leading candidate, but failed to win because he was disqualified by TAFF’s 20% rule.

The rule requires a candidate to receive 20% of the first-place votes cast on each side of the Atlantic (excluding No Preference.) This year, that meant a minimum of 27 European and 10 North American votes. Proven received only 9 votes from North America.

After Proven the next leading vote-getter was Graham Charnock – but he was also knocked in the head by the rule. In his case, he lacked sufficient European votes.

Paul Treadway failed to poll the minimum on both sides of the Pond.

Only John Coxon – with exactly 27 European votes – survived application of the 20% rule.

It’s breathtaking to realize that despite attracting the largest field of nominees in years, TAFF would have sent no one to Renovation if Coxon had received one less vote in Europe.

How genius is that?

Unless you have a beard as gray as mine you may not remember why the rule even exists – it is rooted in the controversy about Martha Beck’s TAFF candidacy back in the 1980s. The initial idea was that it would be, one might say, a courtesy to prevent the selection of a TAFF delegate who was not wanted by some minimum of fans in the receiving country.

 As explained in Patrick and Teresa Nielsen Hayden’s Taffluvia #2:

Alleviating host-country fears, no one will be able to win TAFF without making at least some effort to get some host-country support. Alleviating other possible fears, correspondingly, no one will be able to win TAFF on a campaign pitched exclusively to the host country, either

The sending-country requirement was somebody’s rider on the original rule, one that must have seemed too unimportant to object to because at the time they were able to say, “[If] TAFF had had it as a rule since day one, it wouldn’t have affected the outcome of a single election.”

Well, now it has. Fandom has finally stepped on that mine. I realize that the rule was ratified by the vast majority of living TAFF delegates at the time — it was a considered decision. But the sending-country side of the rule was not the core idea and ill-serves present day fandom where TAFF candidates are often hard to drum up.

Vote tally:

Voting Europe NA Other Total
Graham Charnock *20 20 ? 40
John Coxon 27 11 ? 38
Liam Proven 75 *9 ? 84
Paul Treadaway *10 *9 ? 19
Hold Over Funds 1 1 0 2
No Preference 1 5 0 6
Total** 134 **55 **1 189

[Via Ansible Links.]

Know Your TAFF Candidates

Four fans rode forth to save this year’s TAFF race: their names are Death, Destruction… Oops, sorry, wrong list! Though now that Jim Mowatt has immortalized Charnock, Coxon, Proven and Treadway in the latest issue of Pips (PDF file) no one will have an excuse for failing to remember their names as readily as that other foursome.

Jim’s interviews show how diverse this group truly is. On any subject you care to name you’ll find a candidate taking one side, and Graham Charnock taking the other. Consider several quotes which I have scientifically removed from context.

For example: Are they genuinely fond of science fiction?

John Coxon: I’m currently reading The Forever War by Joe Haldeman inspired by – a housemate recommended it to me and also the theme for the next Eastercon is military history so I’m trying to read military history in preparation for that.

Graham Charnock: At the moment, I’m reading a lot of science fiction – NOT! What I’m reading is a lovely book by Stephen Sondheim about songwriting because I also do a bit of songwriting in my own time.

How important do they think it is for TAFF delegates to make of use the internet?

John Coxon: I want to try and use social media to a higher extent than it has previously been used. I want to try and record – and I know Steve Green did a video blog. I want to try and build on that.

Jim Mowatt: I presume you’re going to do a paper TAFF report.
Graham Charnock: Yes, of course.
Jim Mowatt: Have you got a name for it yet?
Graham Charnock: Great American Novel, I think is the closest thing I’m going to call it because it will probably be that big.

And, do they play well with others?  

Liam Proven: I’m a very genial and easygoing chap and I get on with actually everybody.

Graham Charnock: I’m terribly nice and mild but I can give someone a rabid bite if necessary.

Altogether a fine piece of journalism. Thanks to Jim Mowatt for beating the drum and generating more interest in the 2011 TAFF race.

Fans have until April 26 to cast a vote – for more information see the official TAFF website.

[Via Ansible Links.]

Marty Cantor’s Corflu Report

backsides

The backsides of great fanzine fans. A rare view, rather like that famous photo of Churchill.

THE ANNUAL FANZINE FANS’ GET-TOGETHER
The 2011 Corflu in Sunnyvale, California
by Marty Cantor

For a hot-house plant like me, even Los Angeles can be cold in February. But a sweater, jacket, overcoat, gloves, and a hat can take care of that whilst the interior of the car warms up. Even over the Grapevine, that gateway to a fast drive on the I-5 north from Los Angeles to the Bay Area. Or, to be more accurate, to Sunnyvale, in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Even in Buttonwillow, 100 miles north of my North Hollywood starting point, where I stopped to put gas into my car, and thence to grab a bite to eat in the rest stop just north of that burg, the cold was barely tolerable when I removed my gloves to remove money from my wallet to pay for the fuel at the gas station and to hold the sandwich I consumed at the rest stop.

But what really warmed me up was the listening to some of my favourite music on my way north. CD players built into automobiles are a boon for people like me, people who like music at least a bit out of the mainstream.

See, I started out listening to two CDs of the secular music from the Renaissance, wonderful sounds from 400+ years in the past. I then moved up 200 years and listened to a CD of Ludwig von Beethoven’s overtures – and then got all modern listening to Catulli Carmina and Trionfo Di Afrodite by Carl Orff, modern music only 100 years old. I was listening to Orff’s Carmina Burana when I pulled into the parking lot of the Domain Hotel in Sunnyvale, the venue for this year’s Corflu, a con celebrating a part of science fiction fandom which started in the 1930s and sometimes feels like it has barely left that time despite the embrace of modern zine-creating technology.

And almost the first thing I did after registering at the hotel and moving things to my room was to take three other con-goers in my car and drive to the Winchester Mystery House for a tour of same. This weird and wonderful 160-room, Victorian mansion which was continuously a-building for 38 years (until the owner died) seemed a fitting start to a con dedicated to the ideals of what started our hobby. (Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take photographs of any parts of the interiors of the mansion but photos aimed outward from porches and balconies were apparently not forbidden – and I shot some from those viewpoints.) Fandom does, of course, adapt to the new technology to continue producing fanzines, usually much easier to create than it was in bygone days; and, sometimes even showing better repro and other technical niceties.

This Corflu’s concom, though, tech-savvy as they were, did not keep their web site updated, so it was a decided shock to see some people show up who were not listed as members. Make that a “pleasant shock” in many cases, as non-listed Pat Virzi walked into the hotel lobby, and the totally unexpected appearance, walking down a hotel corridor, of Victor Gonzalez (with his wife, Tamara). Out of the past walked Gary Farber – or so it seemed at the time as I do not think that I had seen Gary since the 1984 Worldcon in Los Angeles. And, even though the day before I had been posting on an e-list where Graham Charnock was sending messages from London, England, awaiting the birth of his first grandchild, there he was in the hotel bar when I walked in.

One new person I met was Kat Templeton. On one or another of the e-lists I infest it had been mentioned that she was going to be producing a fanzine. I asked her about it and she told me it was half-finished. As, maybe, a spur to get her to do more fanzining, I handed her an envelope of Rotsler illos. I had used all of these illos during 2010 and I was originally going to give these to Earl Kemp for use in his on-line zine. But, with Earl not at the con this year, I saw no reason why I should not help a relative newcomer by giving her the Rotsler illos.

And one of those wonderful, unplanned happenings of cons are the totally unexpected connexions and meetings which spontaneously happen. I more or less slightly overslept on Saturday morning – but I was still the first person down for breakfast. I had just finished eating and was starting my second cup of coffee when Michael Dobson walked in and joined me. He told some interesting anecdotes about some people (non-fans) he knew in DC (where he lives) and we traded some anecdotes about Australia, a place we had both visited. At the time, I had been planning to take my second cup of coffee and walk up to my room and begin typing this con report on my computer, but it was really more interesting, talking to Michael, so I started working on this account about an hour later than planned. As cons are one of those things which are usually so interesting there is relatively no time during them to do any writing, the only time for typing is either before or just after breakfast for an early riser like me.

Friday night’s opening ceremonies were, well, opening-ceremony-like, with the only difference being me taking photographs with my brand-new camera. And, also, taking the microphone and announcing that I had copies of Len Moffatt’s fannish autobiography for sale, all proceeds to TAFF and DUFF. (A sudden weird thought – why is it always TAFF and DUFF rather than DUFF and TAFF? Probably it is because TAFF was here first rather than a more usual alphabetical listing. Still, some phrases always bother me because they are so backwards – like the phrase “back and forth”. I mean, how can one come back before one has gone forth? Et bloody silliness.)

As is the protocol at cons, at least for those of us who have been in fandom for awhile and who have attended some cons, almost more important than the usual official starting ceremonies are the individual greetings of those whom one has not seen since the last iteration of the con – especially at Corflus as this meeting of fanzine fans is often the only con attended by those of us who enjoy this part of fandom. Of particular enjoyment are the first meeting with fans with whom one has been corresponding in one or another milieu, often for some time, but with whom this is the first ever face-to-face meeting. such was the case in my meeting with Mike and Pat Meara, over from Old Blighty to experience the American iteration of Corflu and to see how it differs – if at all – from the English version of the con which they attended the previous year. Indeed, I met them almost as soon as I arrived at the con hotel. And they (along with Milt Stevens, the other Angeleno at the con) were my passengers as I drove them to the Winchester Mystery House, theoretically a 10-minute drive from the hotel – according to the map I downloaded before I left North Hollywood – but local traffic made that more than a bit of a joke. But get there we did, and I must say that we all enjoyed the tour of a house with cabinet doors which opened to blank walls, an outside door on a higher floor which opened up to open air and no stairs, a stairway up to a ceiling, a window in the floor, and many other strange constructions. Anybody interested in this over-large anomaly of a building can probably read about it in many places. Needless to say, joining with the British Sandra Bond and the three passengers she drove over from the hotel, we had a fascinating tour of this architectural pile.

After which we all returned to the hotel or went for a meal or did something before we went to the Opening Ceremonies. In my case, even though Milt and I shared a table in the hotel restaurant before going to the opening ceremonies, nothing much which happened on that Friday evening compared to the sensory overload of viewing the Winchester House. At the Opening Ceremonies I remember Carrie Root’s name being pulled from the box, therefore making her the Guest of Honour at this Corflu, but not all that much of what else happened at that event – except me making an announcement of the Len Moffatt autobiography which I had printed upon hearing of Len’s death. (This autobiography was a compilation of 9 episodes which Len wrote and which I had originally pubbed in nine different issues of my zine, NO AWARD (starting over 10 years ago).

Tired from all of this, I went to bed even earlier than usual. So, if anybody is interested in what I did at the room parties and such like at the con, please note that I am an early riser and rarely stay up until midnight at most cons. Indeed, even were I to stay up past midnight, I would be asleep anyway. A night person I am not – unless it is at the tail end of the night, as I awaken before sunup.

Programming at Corflus is always single track. Granted, there are not all that many people at these cons compared to, say, Worldcons, but these are all the sort of people with whom other fanzine fans love to hang around. And talk. And talk. And talk. So, even though whatever the programming at the con happens to be, tailored as it all is to the interests of fanzine fans, sometimes many of the attendees do not much bother the programming which is put on for their enjoyment/edification.

So be it.

This means that I missed the fannish trivia contest where four teams squared off to see which team knew the most useless information. The results, though: the Mike McInerny American team of John D Berry, Milt Stevens, and Gary Farber beat the Sandra Bond English team.
 
One item of interest was a slide presentation by Dave Hicks, a fanartist
brought to the con by the Corflu 50 group. Dave is a fanartist whose
artwork I would dearly love to showcase in any genzine I was putting
out. If I was putting one out …

In my case, I was only interested in the Fanzine Auction, put on at 8 on Saturday evening, given that I had brought items to auction off for DUFF. All of the items put up for bid at Corflu auctions are meant only for the support of various fannish charities, usually (and mostly) the various travel funds: TAFF, DUFF, GUFF, and the like. I have participated in fannish auctions before – as an auctioneer – and it turned out that this was to be no exception as Chris Garcia, the con chair, had not made arrangements for anybody else other than him to do the auctioning. As more and more fans straggled in from dinner, the auctioning got more spirited as more people began participating in the bidding. At the end of the scheduled hour, with only a few items left to auction, we called an end to the bidding so that those who had won items could pay for them and the next programme item could commence.

This was a fannish play, written by Andy Hooper. I always seem to enjoy reading them after the fact as I usually have conversations drag me away from the live productions – and this time was no different from the usual.

I went up to the con suite and got into some conversations, including a bit on the virtual con suite, a connexion to interested parties via the internet. This was most ably handled at the Corflu end by Kat Templeton.

Sunday morning saw Jack Calvert arriving for breakfast as I was going in for same. Yeah, I slightly overslept today, too. Jack is a member of LASFAPA, one of the two APAs I run, and he is also a member of Inthebar, the e-list founded by fan artist Harry Bell. As is all too common, I remember that Jack and I had a fine talk during breakfast, with me not remembering any of the details.

Sunday mornings at Corflus usually start slowly as the only scheduled programme item is the Banquet. Of course, eating food is only one of the things we do at the Banquet. The food at this Corflu’s Banquet was a brunch – in name, even though it was mostly breakfast food along with exceedingly spicy chili. Some of us who had already eaten breakfast at the hotel were slightly put out that essentially the same food for lunch. (An aside: a free, full breakfast was included in the price of our hotel rooms. Personally, I find that a wonderful change from the sweet roll and coffee combo called a free breakfast at some hotels. And, as a breakfast, it was very good.)

The food part of the Banquet was served in a room off the lobby of the hotel. So, when we finished our meal we moved to the room we used for Corflu functions, on a hallway in back of the elevators on the second floor. This is where the “business” of the con was then held. Starting with the nominations and voting for the Past President of FWA, Fanzine Writers of America. As explained by Ted White (who ran this part of the meeting), what the members of the con produce are fanzines, and whether drawn or typed, we are all writers, and no matter from whence we came, we are all Americans – at least for the purpose of FWA. And we always vote for last year’s President as there is never any current President of FWA. (Ted explained all this better than me but I was too busy taking photographs to write down any details.) Anyway, after some very spirited voting, Spike was voted Past President of FWA.

Then came the time for Spike to announce the winners of the FAAN Awards, with said Awards being carved on bronze plaques (by Tom Becker). First, though, there was a Special Lifetime Achievement Award given to Art Widner. Art got up to take the award and then sort of hesitated as he attempted to read the words on the plaque. Some wag – not me, this time – wondered, aloud, if the words on the plaque used Art’s spelling. Art mentioned something about them being in “dumb English.”

Below is a list of the FAAN Awards as voted on by fans:

Artist: Steve Stiles
Letterhack: Robert Lichtman
Fanzine: Robert Lichtman’s TRAP DOOR
Writer: Roy Kettle
Website: eFanzines.com

Carrie Root then gave her Guest of Honor speech; which, in her case, was a slide show of a visit with relatives and Andy Hooper to northern New Mexico. It was well received.
 
There was then a discussion of where Corflu would be held in 2012, with Ted White presenting a bid for Las Vegas as none of the Vegrants were able to appear at this year’s con. Many of us have good memories of the Corflus previously held in Vegas, so it was with good heart that Las Vegas was awarded the 2012 Corflu.

The end of the Banquet is traditionally the end of the programming at Corflu. The Con Suite will remain open until around midnight or so and there are still get-togethers and fannish food expeditions afterwards, but many people leave for home on Sunday afternoon and evening. Being theoretically retired – well, I run the apartment building in which I live as a supplement to my Social Security check – I usually stay at the hotel an additional night and start my drive home early Monday morning. As I did, this time, except I had the “pleasure” of having rain or drizzle as an accompaniment to my driving all the way south until I arrived at the Grapevine. From the beginning of my ascent into the mountains – and for the remainder of the day – the Sun was shining brightly. A fitting end to a fine con.

Widner goes forward

Art Widner rises to accept his Lifetime Achievement Award.

Art Widner deciphers his award plaque.

Not Your Grandfather’s TAFF Race

In case anyone wondered, Graham Charnock didn’t declare for TAFF as a nicey-nice gesture to help make a race for 2011. He’s in this to win!

Charnock has revamped his website with traditional campaign paraphernalia – a poster, a slogan, and campaign promises:

If elected I will happily make a fool of myself at the drop of a hat, sing lots of Astral Leauge songs, and carry on the spirit of British con partying which so terrifies US fans, and report back with full gory details. That’s why you should vote for me for TAFF.

Snapshots 41

VSS Enterprise on captive carry flight.

Here are 6 developments of interest to fans:

(1) To quote Jean-Luc Picard, “Let history never forget the name…ENTERPRISE!” Virgin Galactic announced on March 22 that VSS Enterprise has completed her inaugural captive carry flight from Mojave Air and Spaceport.

Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Galactic added: “Seeing the finished spaceship in December was a major day for us but watching VSS Enterprise fly for the first time really brings home what beautiful, ground-breaking vehicles Burt [Rutan] and his team have developed for us. …”

The VSS Enterprise test flight programme will continue though 2010 and 2011, progressing from captive carry to independent glide and then powered flight, prior to the start of commercial operations.

(2) Trek Today has posted a video of George Takei and husband Brad Altman encouraging gay couples to participate in the 2010 Census. In the message Takei wears his uniform from Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan:

“[You may ask] why I’m still wearing this Starfleet uniform,” he said. “It’s to get you to actually listen to this important message, that affects how our community and marriages such as ours are viewed by this nation. Be counted!”“This is the first time in history the census is counting marriages like ours,” said Altman.

(3) Harlan Ellison volunteered his superb, Grammy-nominated vocal cords to dramatize the parody poem “I Will Not Read Your ***king Script” by Steve Jarrett, which turns Josh Olson’s essay of the same name into a version of Dr. Suess’s Green Eggs and Ham. (Not safe for work unless your boss edits The Village Voice.)

(4) Langford’s quite right, every fan will enjoy reading Graham Charnock’s Corflu Cobalt Report. One hilarious line after another. Mostly safe for work. What isn’t safe is for me to admit which lines made me laugh hardest.

(5) Letters of Note has posted two letters from Lewis Carroll apologizing with all the charm at his disposal for failing to arrange a railway ticket on time.

P.S. I must tell you candidly that the whole of this letter is a hoax, and that my real reason was—to be able to make you a nice little portable present. Friends suggested a corkscrew, a work-box, or a harmonium: but, as I cleverly remarked, “These are all very well in their way, but you can only use them sometimes—whereas a railway ticket is always handy!” Have I chosen well?

(6) David Klaus reveals the secret of The Mission: Impossible Revival that Never Was:

The recent death of actor Peter Graves reminds me of a story line for a revived Mission: Impossible series idea Bob Short told me about many years ago, long before the Australian-filmed Mission: Impossible revival series or the current movie series.

[Thanks to David Klaus and Andrew Porter for the  links in this article that weren’t thieved from Ansible.] 

Harlan Ellison and Josh Olson

Update 3/26/2010: Corrected Virgin Galactic link as recommended in David Klaus’ comment.